Honduras has alarming levels of crime and violence and is a prime transit point for the smuggling of arms, drugs, and people.
Although drug trafficking and gang activity, which includes local micro-trafficking of narcotics and extortion, are the main causes of violent crime in Honduras, a combination of socio-economic and governance conditions have enabled and amplified the impact of this violence. Risk factors, such as deep social inequalities, lack of opportunities, and lack of access to quality services, as well as, the lack of protective factors at multiple levels in society contribute to the prevalence of violence in Honduran society.
This situation is aggravated by the challenges faced by the national and municipal security and justice systems, which are plagued by insufficient resources, corruption, accusations of human rights violations, poor working conditions, low credibility, and high public mistrust. Since citizen security and effective governance are closely linked, Government of Honduras legitimacy hinges on its ability to provide basic security to its citizens, among other areas of service provision.
In response to security challenges in the region, the United States and the governments of Central America have joined together to improve citizen security and the rule of law through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). Under the Initiative, USAID supports community-based efforts to prevent crime and gang activity, support highest risk youth, strengthen community-police relationships, provide school based violence prevention programs and life-skills training and vocational education to at-risk youth. Activities build community cohesion, strengthen local governance, improve physical and social infrastructure, and educate and empower youth to address the root issues that cause young people to become involved in criminal activities. Through partnerships with the Government of Honduras, local governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector, USAID efforts target select urban areas with the highest homicide rates.